Ralph Dumain rdumain at igc.apc.org
Tue Oct 10 20:18:00 MDT 1995

To Brendan Larvor:

I don't think you were paying attention to what I was saying,
hence the irrelevant questions:

>Dumain seems to have read a few books himself.  Was he inoculated
>childhood against the occupational diseases of intellectuals?  Or
>he is just smarter than the rest of us.

Please read my latest post on empiricism, rationalism, etc., and
hopefully you will get a clearer picture of how the issue of the
division of labor relates to those who do intellectual work for a

>Of course, Adorno was a terrible snob

Thanks for helping me out here.

>Being British, I may be European (one of those context dependent

I don't know.  I've seen Brits on TV disavow any connection with
Europe, which they see as the menace across the channel.  There
seems to be a schism on many levels between Britain and the
Continent, also in intellectual traditions.  Many would say the
Brits are less "sophisticated", but they gave us working class
autodidacticism, William Blake, and E.P. Thompson.  True depth and
sophistication is not always flashy, trendy, or conspicuous, or to
be found decked out in the accoutrements of high culture that go
but skin-deep.  We Americans have had an even worse reputation at
least until recently of being unreflective, shallow, uncultured
slobs.  We have a whole history of American intellectuals who
centered their universe around Paris.  As necessary as it is to
assimilate that heritage, those who are ultimately most important
are those who deal most in-depth with the conditions they face at
home.  I'd trade the whole kaboodle of New York Intellectuals for
one Richard Wright.  And from what I've met of educated West
Indians, they certainly put Americans to shame and me too, because
they know everything the Europeans know and more.  Time will tell
who's really got what it takes.

>But, sithee, it's rash to generalise.

Naturally, there is more to France than Derriduh or Lyoturd.
Michel Fabre is the leading Wright scholar.  It's a complex world
out there.

Feel better now?

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